Fruited cornmeal cookies

With apologies for the very bad photo, I give you Gialletti, or fruited cornmeal cookies. Instead of reading apocalyptic literature in the Bible this morning, which I really need to get done before next weekend’s class, I have been trying to research the etymology of the word gialletti. It is Italian (duh), and when I google it I find a hotel in Orvieto, the ceramicist Giulio Gialletti, and a few mentions of the Venetian pastry (apparently also known in those parts as zaleti). The online translators I am accustomed to using are equally unhelpful, spitting out the word gialletti when I request an Italian-to-English translation of gialletti, a convenient-for-them tautology that teaches me nothing. The same is true for zaleti, so learning that word didn’t help any unless I was looking for a synonym which I wasn’t. And neither word is in my early 1990s edition of Cassell’s Italian dictionary. Giallo is, however, and that means yellow.

Which brings me to cornmeal. And golden raisins, juice and zest of oranges, butter and light rum, come to think of it. These cookies use cornmeal in a 1:2 ratio with flour. I processed the cornmeal to grind it a little finer as I tend to have only medium ground cornmeal on hand. And, as long as I was using the food processor, I mixed the flour, baking powder and finely chopped golden raisins together in it after the grinding was done. Butter, sugar, zest of a fresh orange, a tiny bit of salt and plenty of rum and vanilla extract make up the remainder of the ingredients. The dough is quite sticky and needed to be chilled before rolling it out and cutting the diamond shapes. After baking, I dipped each in a glaze of powdered sugar, orange juice, and more rum, and then sprinkled the nonpareils before the glaze had a chance to set. Sweet! No, seriously. Sweet!

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About pattiblaine

Raised under the name of Snyder in the upstate NY town of Vestal, I've worked as a typesetter, a fast food salad bar tender, an art reviewer, a waitress, a part-time nanny, and a very-bad-with-phones temp. Once upon a time I was all-but-thesis toward a Masters in Art History. Now I'm just a mom with a lot of fiber squirreled away throughout the house. We call it insulation. In 2013 I completed a life-long learning program at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, and am a postulant toward the diaconate in the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester, NY. In addition to coordinating volunteers for the soup kitchen, I volunteer as a tutor at a deeply impoverished city elementary school, and am a docent at the Memorial Art Gallery.
This entry was posted in Extracurricular, On the fly (aka from a mobile device), The Joy of Cookies and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Fruited cornmeal cookies

  1. in the bookThe Story of Corn, Betty Fussell constantly remarks on how UNDER appreciated corn (maize) is by most americans.. (we have mush–In Italy, its a special dish of polenta) –the same is true for the natural sweetness of the grain–corn is sweet.

    the book is short on recipes, but it does mention several desserts (cakes/cookies) that use corn(meal) as a key ingredient for flavor and sweetness. (and mentions such dessests are almost unknown in the states.
    (http://www.amazon.com/The-Story-Corn-Betty-Fussell/dp/0826335926)

    • pattiblaine says:

      Thanks, Helen. One website I perused during my search mentioned that cornmeal in the Venetian region is from corn that was undesirable for polenta, and that the use of cornmeal in pastries dates back to a time when (don’t ask me when, that fact didn’t stick, I’m afraid) wheat crops failed due to disease or some other natural calamity. And yes, the natural sweetness of corn came up again and again. Interesting!

  2. Shar says:

    I’ve seen a version of this cookie made with brandy instead of rum. I wonder which is more traditional.

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